It’s 6pm towards the end of the first week of Ramadan and I’ve just got home from another day of handing out food and drink to the construction guys as part of #FillingTheBlues. There’s just over an hour and a bit until the end of the fasting period when I can break my fast with dates and water. I’m fasting for the first time ever in my life and have committed to fasting for the whole of Ramadan, so far it’s going well, aside from feeling thirsty I’m not hungry until all of a sudden and completely out of the blue from absolutely nowhere I start thinking about a sweet dessert that I’ve only had a few times here, but which I am craving … Mouhalabieh.
In typical fashion, when searching for a recipe or inspiration I take to Google where I find a host of recipes, some claiming the dessert is Lebanese, some Syrian and some just a Middle Eastern Dish. It’s heritage aside, I’ve eaten it out a few times, it’s a fairly staple dessert here and can be glamed up or down depending on where you eat it. Essentially the pudding is made from milk and sugar and thickened with cornflour, flavoured with middle eastern flavourings of rose and orange water and served with crushed nuts on top, usually pistachio but also other dried fruits and nuts can be added too. A quick dash to the shop for some flavourings and some fresh milk and I’m off to the kitchen to start cooking.
The recipe I followed was the one below (link below – I suspect this is the Lebanese version of the recipe since it’s from a Lebanese company) and I modified it slightly to suit what I had managed to buy in Carrrefore – I couldn’t get rose water or orange blossom water, but managed to buy orange blossom and rose flavourings which worked well – I added 2 teaspoons and this was fine. I substituted half a cup of sugar for 1/4 cup vanilla sugar which I had in the cupboard as a useful way of using up vanilla pods.
Cooking takes about fifteen minutes, then you put the dishes in the fridge to chill and eat later. What followed was every bit as good as I had imagined. Rich and creamy with a hint of rose and orange in the background and with a nutty crunch of pistachio nuts plus a few extra additions, some dried fruit, some grated coconut and some other nuts, a perfect treat for Suhoor and for breaking my fast the next evening before hitting the gym.
- 4 cups milk
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tbsp corn flour
- ¼ cup of water
- ¼ cup Rose water
- ¼ cup Orange Blossom Water
- Pistachios whole, to decorate
- Put milk and sugar in a large pot and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
- Bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring constantly, about 20mn.
- Dissolve corn flour in water and add to the boiling milk. Whisk.
- When the mixture is thick, remove from the heat.
- Add Rose water and Orange blossom water.
- Remove from heat. Spoon evenly among serving bowls.
- Decorate with pistachios. Serve chilled.
PS – sorry for the less than perfect shots this time, I forgot to get a shot in the daytime, and frankly this was eaten up before I could get any more clicks.
Original Recipe >> Here